Brian Hoyer isn’t a quarterback most 2QBers are in a rush to draft, but recently he’s been a waiver wire superstar. In the past two seasons, Hoyer has combined for seven top-12 (QB1) fantasy finishes and has gone on hot streaks that helped whoever picked him up from the scrap heap go on fantasy championship runs. Earlier this week we saw Hoyer and the San Francisco 49ers agree on a two-year deal that may or may not make him the team’s short-term starter at quarterback. Let’s do a little digging to see if 2QBers should be excited for this marriage.
Recent Statistical Highlights
- Three top-12 fantasy finishes
- Scored 18+ fantasy points from Week 3 to Week 5
- Averaged 20.81 fantasy points from Week 3 to Week 5
- In four full starts, sported a 6:0 passing touchdown to interception ratio
- Threw for 300+ pass yards in all four of his full starts (averaged 329.5 passing yards/game during that span)
- Four top-12 fantasy finishes
- Scored 17+ fantasy points in six games
- Averaged 19.92 fantasy points from Week 4 to Week 8
- Averaged 269 passing yards and threw 12 TDs to 2 INTs from Week 4 to Week 8
Career Statistical Highlights
- 15 games of 15+ fantasy points
- Nine games of 300+ passing yards
- 14 games of 2+ passing touchdowns
One knock against Hoyer is that he hasn’t been all that durable since entering the league. If you take a look at his injury history, courtesy of PlayerProfiler.com, Hoyer has missed time every year dating back to 2013.
Last season Hoyer was primed to be a 2QB league winner until a broken forearm knocked him out for the season.
The Kyle Shanahan Connection
The 2017-18 NFL season won’t be the first time Hoyer and Shanahan will work with each other. In 2014, Shanahan was the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, where Hoyer started 13 games. It was an underwhelming marriage, as Hoyer completed just 55.4 percent of his passes, threw for 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He did have some fantasy worthy performances that season though: five 290+ passing yard games, five games of 14+ fantasy points, and one 20+ fantasy performance. However, the Hoyer-Shanahan Connection Part I wasn’t all that exciting overall.
Hoyer and Shanahan’s history together might not move the needle for you, but quarterback production under Shanahan’s tenure as an offensive coordinator in the NFL should. We have seen Matt Schaub, Robert Griffin III, and Matt Ryan all have career years playing in offenses designed by Shanahan. Below is a list of overall fantasy finishes from quarterbacks under Shanahan:
- 2008 – Matt Schaub: QB21
- 2009 – Matt Schaub: QB4
- 2010 – Donovan McNabb: QB21
- 2011 – Rex Grossman: QB24
- 2012 – Robert Griffin III: QB5
- 2013 – Robert Griffin III+Kirk Cousins combined: QB16
- 2014 – Brian Hoyer+Johnny Manziel combined: QB24
- 2015 – Matt Ryan: QB19
- 2016 – Matt Ryan: QB2
Count it up and we have three top-5 finishes and no quarterback finishing outside of the QB2 tier (in 12-team leagues). The probability of Hoyer having a high-end fantasy QB1 campaign under Shanahan in San Fran seem highly unlikely, but mid-to-low-end QB2 production is a good bet.
Friend of the site, Sean Slavin, was kind enough to put together projections for free agent quarterbacks in Benton McDonald’s free agency primer. Below are Hoyer’s projections in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. The 250 projected fantasy points would have been good for QB19 last season.
|Brian Hoyer||16||332||534||4206||23||8||246||4||250||SFO||Kyle Shanahan|
|Brian Hoyer||33.4||62%||12.7||4.4%||1.4%||SFO||Kyle Shanahan|
Weapons, Or Lack Thereof
Now, one thing Hoyer had in past pit stops were offensive playmakers. He’s thrown to Josh Gordon, DeAndre Hopkins, Alshon Jeffery, and Cameron Meredith, to name a few. As of now, the 49ers boost an offensive arsenal led by Carlos Hyde and featuring Vance McDonald, Jeremy Kerley, and the newly signed Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon. If the 49ers don’t improve upon the additions of Goodwin, Garcon, and Kyle Juszczyk it should keep Hoyer’s draft day cost low.
An Uninspiring But Reliable QB2
Some reports following the signing of Hoyer indicate Shanahan views him more as a backup than starter, which is fair. It wouldn’t be a total shock if the 49ers acquired a more prototypical long-term QB1 such as Kirk Cousins or used the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on a signal caller who could start right away.
For the time being though, Hoyer is the current QB1 on the depth chart in San Fran. Even if he begins the year in a backup role that doesn’t mean he won’t see time under center. We’ve seen Hoyer produce under similar circumstances in the past. I’m not here to convince you to use an early pick on Hoyer, but more to keep his name in the back of your mind during the late rounds of your 2QB drafts this offseason. With how deep the quarterback position is, Hoyer’s 2QB ADP will likely be in the very late rounds.
We’ve seen Hoyer put up consistent QB1 fantasy numbers for weeks at a time the past two seasons; you can’t say that about most quarterback waiver wire pickups, making him a reliable and stable fantasy QB2. If Hoyer is named the QB1 in San Francisco for Opening Day I would be hard-pressed to find a true late-round quarterback who would be more reliable than Hoyer in offseason 2QB drafts. If he winds up not earning the starting gig, Hoyer would be at the top of my waiver wire watch list to start the season and wouldn’t hesitate to add him immediately he if’s called into action.